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Grilled Pizza--Cook-Off 48


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As we love our pizza's crunchy - one trick I have learned is to Grill BOTH sides of the dough...

Meaning, we will roll out the dough, put on olive oil, put that side down on the grill, get it super crispy, turn it over, add toppings to crispy side, then put raw side down, and cook....

So far this season I have done our usual fav of good EVOO, pepperoncino, parm, and pepper

&

Smoked tomato sauce with mozz, green olives, onions, and pepperoni.

love grilled pizza...

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As we love our pizza's crunchy - one trick I have learned is to Grill BOTH sides of the dough...

Meaning, we will roll out the dough, put on olive oil, put that side down on the grill, get it super crispy, turn it over, add toppings to crispy side, then put raw side down, and cook....

So far this season I have done our usual fav of good EVOO, pepperoncino, parm, and pepper

&

Smoked tomato sauce with mozz, green olives, onions, and pepperoni.

love grilled pizza...

Sounds delicious, and thank you for the tips on grilling. Now I'm really going to be busy grilling pizza along with lots of barbecued meats this summer!

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As you can see from the photo, at least in my kitchen, the answer is pretty clear-a pizza doesn’t have to be round.  In fact, I don’t think I’m capable of forming a perfectly round circle of pizza dough. 

David, as you can see by from my post in an eGullet Tag Team Food Blog here, we figure that homemade pizzas generally look more like amoebae.

But to address your concerns about crust and thickness, continue to read the post. Too thin is bad, and too thick is also bad.

My last grilling pizza experiment (I'm about to try again) was during an ill-fated Smoking and Grilling blog that Marlene, Mike and I did some three years ago, during one of the windiest and wettests Mays ever.

Big word of advice to everyone. Prep in advance. So this with a grill you trust, and make sure that there is a portion of the grill that doesn't have charcoal or gas ignited (you do need a "non-fire" spot), and don't do this when it is pouring rain or in a gale-force wind.

Hmmm. I think that now that Diana is gone from home, Peter and I should tackle this job. He's definitely kitchen worthy. Better get some dough going.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Here is the grilled pizza off the fire.  I've garnished it with Nicoise olives and grilled red onions-

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And garnished with the cucumber raita and fresh mint-

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A close-up of the grilled pizza-

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And sliced into wedges-

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The final test of whether or not I had been successful at grilling pizza was the taste-test.  I’d give myself a passing grade--not an “A,” but a solid “B.” 

The toppings were delicious, but the the foundation of my grilled pizza, the crust, was what brought down the final grade.  It was too thick, a bit dry and it was charred on the bottom.  Surprisingly, the burned layer on the bottom of the crust didn’t really disturb the overall flavor of the pizza. 

I suppose I could justify the blackened bottom of the crust on my grilled pizza by putting it in terms that only a food writer could conceive-“the charred crust on the bottom of the pizza added a layer of crisp texture that accented the soft pillows of the upper crust which held the spicy yet cooling garnishes, all the elements adding to the “rustic” taste of the grilled pizza.”

Next time I’ll roll out the dough so it’s thinner.  The recipe I use for regular pizza dough rises a lot, resulting in a final crust that is thicker than I would prefer for my next grilled pizza.  And I'll only add a smattering of toppings so they'll cook at the same pace as the crust.

Secondly, I’ll thoroughly brush the crust with olive oil so that it doesn’t dry out while it’s on the grill. (This may be a bit tricky because I don’t want the olive oil to ignite while the pizza is grilling).

I’ll tame the fire a bit by using about half as many hardwood briquets.  I think I got the fire too blazing hot this time, good for searing a steak but not so good for grilling a pizza.  And I’ll try the above suggestions for quickly grilling one side of the crust, adding the toppings, then finishing the pizza on the grill.

Later this week I’ll try another pizza grilling adventure-a dessert pizza using a sweet crust, apricots, honey, walnuts and mascarpone cheese.

Show us your best grilled pizza!

David. Looks good! I will have to give that a try as soon as the rain stops falling.

To address your crust issues.

First off, the thick crust. I would skip the second rise after rolling it out. I would instead dock it and immediately grill it. As you mentioned, grill on one side, flip, top and finish. It will have some oven spring, but not much. However, this might result in some toughness, so you might also want to add an ounce of oil or butter to the crust to shorten the gluten a bit.

The dryness and blackened bottom is probably caused by the hot fire. Two things come to mind to resolve this is to use a smaller direct fire. Secondly, try closing the air vents 90% to really tamp down the fire and let the residual heat finish the pizza.

I typically make my crusts with 40% AP flour, 40% whole wheat, and 20% spelt. It definitely gives it more flavour.

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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David. Looks good! I will have to give that a try as soon as the rain stops falling.

To address your crust issues.

First off, the thick crust. I would skip the second rise after rolling it out. I would instead dock it and immediately grill it. As you mentioned, grill on one side, flip, top and finish. It will have some oven spring, but not much. However, this might result in some toughness, so you might also want to add an ounce of oil or butter to the crust to shorten the gluten a bit.

The dryness and blackened bottom is probably caused by the hot fire. Two things come to mind to resolve this is to use a smaller direct fire. Secondly, try closing the air vents 90% to really tamp down the fire and let the residual heat finish the pizza.

I typically make my crusts with 40% AP flour, 40% whole wheat, and 20% spelt. It definitely gives it more flavour.

Great tips, thanks!

Now later this week when I attempt the "sweet" pizza I'll be using a recipe for a sweet pie crust. That may present some unique challenges since it isn't a yeast dough like I used for the savory grilled pizza.

My sweet pizza crust will be a combination of all-purpose flour, cake flour, butter, shortening, a hint of sugar and a dash of salt. After combining the dough with water, I let it rest in the refrigerator for about an hour before rolling it out for pie crust-or in this case, a crust for a grilled sweet pizza.

Does anyone out there have experience grilling a pizza using a non-yeast dough?

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Does anyone out there have experience grilling a pizza using a non-yeast dough?

Are you planning on using a pizza pan? You know, one of those ones with holes in it? If not, I think you can say sayonara to your crust.

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For a very, very short moment I wanted to cheat.  I wanted to put my oven pizza stone on top of the grill.  I knew if I did used the pizza stone the crust probably wouldn't burn-at least it wouldn't burn as quickly as if the pizza was put directly on the grill.  But that would be cheating wouldn't it? 

I don't think its Cheating!

I really like cooking pizza on my grill. Its gas and I usually put some tiles on top of the grate. If I don't use the tiles I use some foil.

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Which ever I use, I turn the burners on the grill up to max and heat the grill up for about 15 minutes to get it really hot. Then I turn the burners down, maybe the center one off and quickly add the pizza, trying not to let too much heat escape. I cook the pizza on just one side, and put the toppings on the top. After cooking it for 5 minutes of less the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp.

I usually keep the crust pretty thin and use very minimal toppings.

I've cooked pizza write on the grate before, but I find that this technique is easier and I like the results better.

Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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My ideal grilled pizza (perhaps unreasonable -- click here and you be the judge) is extremely thin, with far fewer toppings on them than shown so far in this topic. I haven't made grilled pizza at home in years and years, dating back to when someone left my cast-iron grate out in the rain and it rusted. That thing was PERFECT for grilled pizza.... :angry:

But I digress. I think that a handful of items is best, most importantly including cheese that will melt quickly in the intense heat, and that dough rolled out to nearly transparent thinness is essential.

Might have to fire up the grill later this summer and try to rekindle an old love....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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No gas here. I want the smoke off the coals if I'm going to the trouble of grilling the damned thing.

Here, here. I'm pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to cooking with my outdoor grill, and that means charcoal or wood. It's terribly hard to control the heat, but the effort is worth it to give food that authentic, smoky flavor.

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Here's a pizza that I made a few days ago: Prawn, Artichoke Hearts and Nori.

The Dough is Lehman's No Knead Pizza Dough. (I doubled the salt as I find the original recipe a bit bland)

The toppings are simple:

Crushed/Strained tomatoes (Passata in a bottle - Italissima brand)

Fresh Mozza

Regular Mozza

Frozen Prawns

Onions - sliced thin

Nori shredded on top

Garlic (crushed and added to the sauce)

seasoned with salt

I preheated one of my old (and cracked) pizza stones on the grill (a propane Weber Q120) for about 20-30mins. Slid the pizza on and cooked it for approx 4 mins. In the meantime, I fired up the (upper) broiler in my gas oven. I pulled the pizza from the grill and finished it off under the broiler for some more colour on top.

I think it tuned out well. It had that char on the bottom of the crust - perhaps slightly too much char at some spots. I'll try 30secs to 1 min less time on the stone next time (see upskirt photo below) and good colour on top. The crust was crunchy and tender/chewy. (I actually made two - one without nori).

Pics:

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fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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I preheated one of my old (and cracked) pizza stones on the grill (a propane Weber Q120) for about 20-30mins. Slid the pizza on and cooked it for approx 4 mins. In the meantime, I fired up the (upper) broiler in my gas oven. I pulled the pizza from the grill and finished it off under the broiler for some more colour on top.

I think it tuned out well. It had that char on the bottom of the crust - perhaps slightly too much char at some spots. I'll try 30secs to 1 min less time on the stone next time (see upskirt photo below) and good colour on top. The crust was crunchy and tender/chewy. (I actually made two - one without nori).

If you're doing it on a stone and finishing it in the oven, anyway, then what's the point of doing it on the grill at all? Do you still get a smoky or "grilled" flavour if the pizza isn't cooked directly on the grill?

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I preheated one of my old (and cracked) pizza stones on the grill (a propane Weber Q120) for about 20-30mins. Slid the pizza on and cooked it for approx 4 mins. In the meantime, I fired up the (upper) broiler in my gas oven. I pulled the pizza from the grill and finished it off under the broiler for some more colour on top.

I think it tuned out well. It had that char on the bottom of the crust - perhaps slightly too much char at some spots. I'll try 30secs to 1 min less time on the stone next time (see upskirt photo below) and good colour on top. The crust was crunchy and tender/chewy. (I actually made two - one without nori).

If you're doing it on a stone and finishing it in the oven, anyway, then what's the point of doing it on the grill at all? Do you still get a smoky or "grilled" flavour if the pizza isn't cooked directly on the grill?

What I was actually attempting to make was an approximation of a Neapolitan pizza. I have tried many ways short of building a brick oven and this was the best result so far.

Yes it still tastes "grilled" since it is exposed to the smoke from the BBQ's interior. The stone gets quite hot and does char the pizza (as you can see from the pics) but buffers the heat enough so it doesn't burn before the top is cooked.

I could have just served it straight from the BBQ as the top was fully cooked and it had some nice colour already, but I preferred it darker - so I finished it off in in the oven broiler.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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What I was actually attempting to make was an approximation of a Neapolitan pizza. I have tried many ways short of building a brick oven and this was the best result so far.

Makes sense. I make very good Neapolitan-style pizza in my oven (small Japanese gas convection oven) at 300C. I get nice puffing of the rim of the crust, and bubbles just like my favourite Neapolitan-style pizza place. But I think the secret is more in the dough than the oven (an oven helps, of course).

I wish I could make grilled pizza. It would certainly help keep the temperature of my apartment down, but my teeny tiny balcony won't accommodate a grill!

(In my opinion, that's really the only benefit to grilling pizza--it doesn't heat up the room/house/apartment like a hot oven does.)

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What I was actually attempting to make was an approximation of a Neapolitan pizza. I have tried many ways short of building a brick oven and this was the best result so far.

Makes sense. I make very good Neapolitan-style pizza in my oven (small Japanese gas convection oven) at 300C. I get nice puffing of the rim of the crust, and bubbles just like my favourite Neapolitan-style pizza place. But I think the secret is more in the dough than the oven (an oven helps, of course).

I wish I could make grilled pizza. It would certainly help keep the temperature of my apartment down, but my teeny tiny balcony won't accommodate a grill!

(In my opinion, that's really the only benefit to grilling pizza--it doesn't heat up the room/house/apartment like a hot oven does.)

I can get a decent Neapolitan style pizza in my oven using a Fibrament stone preheated to 550F (about 288C). It needs to cook fast on the stone (ideally under 3 mins which I have yet to achieve). You are right about the dough...it is a critical component. Lehman's dough is very good for this type of pizza.

I do find that using this BBQ method is much quicker (preheating my stone in the oven takes about 1.5 hrs...on the grill I can get it to pizza making temps in 20 mins). Also, the crust has more of the charring ("leoparding" in pizza geekese). Compare the undersides from these photos. I now assemeble the pizza in a perforated pan then I slide it on top of the hot stone. These were done in my oven a couple of weeks ago :

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PS. I have seen some experiments on the web that use a preheated cast iron pan (on the stove) instead of a stone. They put the cast iron pan facing down in the oven and they slide the pizza on top of that. The results looked pretty good.

This probably belongs in another thread though.

Edited by fmed (log)

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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How do you all build your fires? Do you spread the coals out evenly before putting the pizza on? Or do you try to mound them off to the side? How hot are you trying to get it? About how long should it take the pizza to cook? I'm a total newbie at grilling pizza, I need more hand-holding!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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When I use a charcoal grill (I have an old Weber) I mound some coals to one side so I have more control (I have a "hot" side and a "cool" side). I start on the hot side then when the crust looks like it might start to get too dark, I slide it over to the "cool" side to finish.

fmed

de gustibus non est disputandum

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How do you all build your fires? Do you spread the coals out evenly before putting the pizza on? Or do you try to mound them off to the side? How hot are you trying to get it? About how long should it take the pizza to cook? I'm a total newbie at grilling pizza, I need more hand-holding!

I tried to keep the coals over to one side of the grill because I knew if I spread the coals out over the entire space of the grill the pizza would incinerate. Well, it almost did incinerate even with the coals to one side!

I used about twice as many coals as I should have, and from what you see below, you can imagine how hot the fire was. Even with the coals to one side the pizza was done in about two minutes.

Tommorrow I'll light a fire about half as intense for grilling my sweet pizza with grilled apricots.

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How do you all build your fires? Do you spread the coals out evenly before putting the pizza on? Or do you try to mound them off to the side? How hot are you trying to get it? About how long should it take the pizza to cook? I'm a total newbie at grilling pizza, I need more hand-holding!

If you can place a rack over the coals for some sort of heat barrier, you can transform your BBQ into something that looks a bit more like an oven. You can place fire bricks or a pan full of sand a few inches above the coals and then place your grate on which you add a pizza stone (a few more inches above the fire bricks). This will be as close as it gets to a brick oven particularly if you have good thermal retention in your lid (heavy cast iron or, better, ceramic).

This is how I make pizza on my grill.

That being said, I am not sure this kind of set up will qualify for this topic as the result will not exactly be a grilled pizza.

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I've been making pies using Tyler Florence's Food 911 dough recipe (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tyler-florence/pizza-dough-recipe/index.html)

It's awesome! I modify it a bit and do not use as much flour-3 cups seems a bit too much. Here's pizza margherita and pizza with sauteed beet greens and mushrooms with riccotta and mozzarella.

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I grilled the pies on a pizza stone and have been playing with temps between 600-700 degrees. The char is super, and the crust is very thin and crisp.

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Thank you everyone for adding your tips for grilling pizza. As you’ll read and see in my following posts, your feedback, (especially the tips on the fire and “pre-grilling” the pizza before topping it), proved to be of great value to me when I grilled a “sweet pizza.”

My attempts at grilling a sweet pizza spanned over three days due to threatening thunderstorms in our local area. Rain and lightning don’t make for perfect pizza grilling conditions. So excuse me for taking that long to share the results of the grilled sweet pizza. At least for me, it was worth the time and effort.

Like my first attempt at grilling a savory pizza, I was venturing into unchartered territory with grilling a sweet pizza. Would the sweet dough that I use for pie crust work over a hot grill fired by charcoal? How would a sweet, soft cheese like mascarpone stand-up to the heat of a grill? And would the elements I chose—apricots, candied pecans spiced with cayenne, mascarpone, honey and fresh basil—make for a balanced, flavorful sweet pizza?

I started the sweet pizza by making candied pecans in the oven and then grilling the apricots.

The candied pecan recipe included sugar, salt, corn syrup and a good measure of cayenne pepper for heat-

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The pecans are tossed with the sugars and spices and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes until they are toasted and crisp. (This is the first time I’ve combined a sweet and hot element in a dessert. I was nervous about the combination, but it worked fabulously with the other flavors of the pizza).

I kept the apricots simple, just cut in half and placed on the grill—no added sugar or honey, just raw apricots. I used the same hardwood charcoal I used for the savory pizza, and this time I added some applewood chunks to add another smoky flavor element.

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I placed the apricot halves on top of a smaller grate that is typically used for cooling hot pans. This contraption, something I've come to name the "second grate technique," would prove to be an invaluable tool later on-

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I grilled the apricots for about 10 minutes-

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The next steps will be crafting the foundation of the sweet pizza—the crust—a very different crust than the one I used for the savory pizza.

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I was a bit worried that my standard pie crust recipe wouldn’t hold-up under the intense heat of a hardwood charcoal fire.

It took me a number of years to perfect my pastry crust recipe—a combination of recipes taken from my Grandmother Mildred Ross, Great Aunt Bertie and an old edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. It’s a delicate crust using a combination of both Crisco and butter, that yields a very light crust with layer upon layer of buttery flakes of pastry.

I rarely vary the recipe, but on occasion I'll add a few drops of apple cider vinegar, (which gives the crust a bit more texture), or some shredded, sharp Cheddar cheese, (for an apple custard galette).

The pastry crust recipe calls for all-purpose flour, cake flour, salted butter, Crisco, sugar, salt and ice water-

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This is the pastry crust dough after the butter and Crisco are cut into the flour by hand.

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I use an old-fashioned pastry cutter because, in my opinion, a food processor buzzes the butter and Crisco into little granules of sand that leave you with a pie crust that disintegrates. By cutting the pastry by hand I have better control over the size of the pieces of butter and Crisco. And as you can see, I prefer to keep the pieces bigger than the standard “pea” size because it allows for more layers of flaky pastry within the finished crust.

And the finished pastry crust after adding ice water and binding together. I let the pastry dough sit in the refrigerator to relax for an hour before rolling out-

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After resting and cooling for an hour, the pastry rolled out-

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As I mentioned above, this small metal grate proved to be an invaluable tool for the grilling of the sweet pizza. In this photo, it serves as the template for cutting the pastry dough into a round that will fit the rack for grilling-

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I don’t really know exactly what inspired me to use this “second grate.” I think it was partly a combination of the feedback discussed earlier when we talked about grilling pizza dough over the fire and moving it around the grate to keep the bottom from burning. And it was also due in part to my fear of the apricots slipping through the wide grates on the grill.

I thought of using a basic, rectangular rack normally used for cooling freshly-baked cookies, but it was too big. Then I remembered I had this round cooling rack that was just the right size. The little indentations of the cooling rack fit perfectly in the spaces of the larger rack over the grill. And so the “second grate technique” was born-

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The cut pastry crust ready for grilling-

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Another important piece of feedback I gathered from our discussions was to have my garnishes ready to go outside right by the grill. I’d grill the pastry crust first just to the point of getting the bottom crust done, then pull the crust off the grill, top the pizza, and then finish it back on the grill.

The garnishes for the sweet pizza included honey, candied pecans and mascarpone cheese. (I added vanilla to the mascarpone for flavor and a couple of spoons of milk to thin the cheese)-

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I used applewood chips for grilling both the apricots and the pizza to add an extra flavor element of smoke. The applewood chips should be soaked in water for about an hour before adding on top of the fire-

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The fire I made for the savory pizza was too hot and would have torched my delicate pastry crust in a matter of seconds. The “sweet pizza” fire used about half the amount of hardwood-

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The line-up for the sweet pizza—the pastry crust, pre-grilled apricots, honey, candied pecans, mascarpone, butter for brushing the crust just before grilling and fresh basil leaves for the final garnish-

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This is my “training” photo for the “second grate technique.” As you can see, the smaller grate allowed me the ability to easily slide it over the top of the main grate in order to control the amount of heat hitting the bottom of the pizza crust. Using a silicone spatula to move the grate, I found this technique to be much easier than slapping a big round of pizza dough directly on top of the main grate.

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I heated the second grate directly over the fire for a few minutes, then slid it off the fire, slid the pastry dough off the parchment onto the second grate, then slid the second grate back over the top of the fire-

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Another advantage of the “second grate” is that you can easily check the doneness of the bottom of the crust-

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Using my stylish garden gloves, I easily picked up the second grate to check the bottom of the pastry crust-

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After about 20 minutes of grilling the pastry crust, I took it off the fire and added the grilled apricots and some drizzles of honey-

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Dollops of mascarpone-

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Candied pecans-

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And a view of the bottom of the crust of the finished sweet pizza. (Imagine the aroma of a freshly baked pie crust combined with the crispy texture of a perfectly grilled pizza)-

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Ever since I attended a pastry workshop at “Vegas Uncork’d,” I’ve been thinking about adding unusual flavor elements into my desserts at home.

During the workshop in Las Vegas, Sarah Kosikowski, Pastry Chef at Michael Mina at Bellagio, shared her technique for adding sweet paprika to smooth-out chocolate ganache. Sarah gave us a lesson on how adding savory elements to sweet desserts can bring them to another flavor dimension.

That little bit of information stuck with me, and I decided to put it to the test with my grilled sweet pizza. I added some cayenne to the candied pecans to see how the heat of the pepper would accent the sugar. It worked! Rather than garnish my sweet pizza with the ubiquitous sprig of mint, I decided to add fresh basil. It worked! The licorice flavor and perfume of the basil perfectly accented the sweetness of the grilled apricots and the vanilla flavor of the ice cream.

The final garnish for the sweet pizza, fresh leaves of basil-

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A close-up of the grilled sweet pizza. The “delicate” crust held its own against the heat of the grill. It just took some finesse on my part to handle the crust properly-

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The final result, “Grilled Sweet Pizza with Apricots, Mascarpone, Candied Pecans and Basil.” Served with vanilla ice cream-

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      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo.
      Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines.
      So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to eGullet Cook-Off XLIV! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      We've just devoted a Cook-Off to braised brisket, and we're turning again to moist, well-cooked proteins for our next adventure: ossobuco. You will see it spelled a number of different ways out there, but Marcella Hazan refers to it as one word in her definitive Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, so I'm going with that spelling. No reason to argue with Marcella, after all.
      Ossobuco is braised veal shank, named after the "bone with a hole" that used to be attached to the hind shank of a calf. (Let's all agree to stick to veal, and not have, say, halibut ossobuco. ) The classic Milanese version includes vegetables, tomatoes, wine, and broth, and is served with risotto alla milanese, perfumed with saffron, and with gremolada.
      Some of the versions out there are a bit wacky. In particular, The Silver Spoon Cookbook simmers the 2" thick shanks for 30 minutes atop the stove. Given that Hazan has 1 1/2" shanks in a 350F oven for two hours, I'm pretty sure the SSC is a waste of good veal. Indeed, I'd think that a much lower oven for longer would work wonders.
      There are more things to talk about here than just braising temps and times! For example, many other versions of ossobuco depart from the Milanese approach. In her out-of-print More Classic Italian Cooking, Hazan provides the recipe for Ossobuchi in Bianco, the white referring to a sauce lacking tomato. In The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, Giuliano Bugialli offers ossobuco Florentine style, with peas and pancetta, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Italian Country Table offers a home-style version with mushrooms, favas or snap peas, and more intense flavors such as anchovy, sage, and rosemary.
      We have one short discussion of ossobuco here, and an even shorter one on wine pairings here. Indeed, as is often the case with Italian food, the best discussion is the one shepherded by Kevin72, the Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia, which muses on on the dish's origins and execution throughout.
      I'm wondering a few things myself. Some folks say that braised veal cannot be reheated, unlike other dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. I'm also wondering what other sorts of sides -- polenta, say, or the Italian mashed potatoes that Hazan suggests for the ossobuchi in bianco -- would work and/or are traditional.
      So who wants to welcome the new year with some bones with holes?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen Indian lamb curry. Yes, it's true: that's a huge category for a cook-off, and saying "Indian" is about as stupidly broad as saying "American." However, like gumbo, there are some basic elements to most of the many, many permutations of this dish, and several cook-off participants wanted to start cooking Indian at home with several options.
      So, instead of choosing a specific lamb curry, I thought that having a conversation about those different permutations (like the gumbo okra/roux discussion, say) would be interesting and fun. I also wanted to avoid too particular ingredients that some of our cook-off pals can't get in certain places.
      A few things that we can discuss, photograph, and share include:
      -- the spice mixture: If you've never toasted your own spices, then you have a world of aromatic wonder ahead. I'm sure many people can share their ingredients, ratios, and toasting tips for curry powders that will blow away the garbage in your grocery's "spice" aisle. We can also have the ground vs. whole debate, if there are takers!
      -- the paste: many curry dishes involve frying a blended paste of onion, garlic, and/or ginger, along with the spices, in oil or ghee (clarified butter). I found that learning how to cook that paste -- which requires the same sort of patience demanded by roux -- was the key to making a deep, rich curry.
      -- accompaniments: rice dishes or bread (I have a pretty good naan recipe that I'd be glad to try out again).
      Here are a couple of related eGullet threads:
      lamb kangari
      a lamb and goat thread
      If anyone finds more, post 'em!
      So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to this second anniversary eGullet Recipe Cook-Off! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      A click on that index shows that, while the Cook-Offs have ventured throughout the globe, but they've never stopped in Africa. One could say we've passed through -- gumbo, for example, is widely acknowledged to have roots in Africa, among other places. So, for the first Cook-Off rooted in African cuisine, we'll be cooking up mafé, otherwise known as peanut or groundnut stew.
      Mafé is a traditional west African dish that can be found in the kitchens of Senegal and Mali. It's often served with a starch of some sort (rice, most often) to soak up the nutty stew juices, or, alternately, the starch is part of the stew itself, resulting in a drier braise. While there are a few mentions of mafé in eG Forums, there are no discussions of actually preparing it that I can find except this brief post by yours truly. There are a few recipes elsewhere, including this stew-like one and this more braise-y one, both of which are from the Food Network.
      Mafé is a forgiving cold-weather dish, and one that, like most stews, benefits from reheating (read: swell as leftovers). I'm convinced that mafé is one of the great one-pot dishes in global cuisine, built on a solid base of sautéed onions, peanut-thickened stock, and hearty meat. Like other classics such as gumbo, cassoulet, and bibimbap, it affords tremendous variation within those guides; it would be hard to find very many vegetables that haven't made an appearance in a mafé pot somewhere, and there are lots of possibilities concerning herbs and spices. (I like to increase the heat quite a bit with cayenne, which I think plays off the silk of the nut oil just perfectly, for example.)
      Finally, it's a pleasant surprise if you've never had a savory peanut dish before, and kids in particular tend to think it is the bee's knees. The kitchen fills with a heady aroma -- browned onion, ground peanuts -- that's hard to describe and resist.
      So: who's up for mafé?
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